One management innovation I’ve suggested, my own version of a rumspringa, is what I call a career partnership. This is an approach that could apply to those people whose own human capital forms a major input to organisation capability.
Of course, these talented people are not only ever going to work for this one organisation, but there might be a basis for a new type of relationship with them.
An HRM / adding value approach to talent management suggests that an organisation should employ people who fit within its various talent pools for as long as possible. The organisation knows these people will leave in a few years time and it tries to guard against them doing this as much as it can. This often seems to involve keeping people identified as talent as busy as possible, so that they do not have time to apply for other jobs!
An HCM / creating value perspective to talent management also recognizes that these individuals are going to want to leave at some point, if only to gain more variety in their careers. However, rather than fighting for a few more months or years of service before these people leave, the organisation looks longer term and effectively says, ‘Look, we know you are not going to work for us for the next ten years. But we’d very much like it if you would work for us for ten years during the next twenty. We’d like you to partner with us during this time. During some of this period you will be employed by us and at other times you won’t. But we’re going to keep a special relationship going with you throughout.’
The focus of this approach is on maximizing the lifetime value (not the length of a single employment contract) of people in the partner group. An analogy using customer rather than human capital is relationship marketing’s focus on maximising a customer’s lifetime spend (rather than the revenue from an individual transaction).
An organisation needs to focus on engaging all its career partners, not just those partners that are in employment at any one point in time. This means that organisations actually have to maintain two partner groups: an internal group and an external one. The external group consists of people who have previously worked in the organisation’s internal partner group, or have been invited to join the external partner group for later employment when the time is right for both parties.
In this way, an organisation’s relationship with its career partners changes from being a single transaction to an ongoing cycle, in which the individuals move out of and back into employment, potentially several times...